Can't Catch Me Coz the Rabbit Done Died

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This story is about family and the lengths both Winchesters (and Cas) will go to to protect their own.

Summary: When Sam chose to trust Ruby over his brother and ended up freeing Lucifer from his cage, his betrayal broke Dean in a way Hell never could. Now, under the shadow of the impending Apocalypse, the brothers must work to rebuild their bond as they fight together to protect their tattered family from both angels and demons. Meanwhile, cut off from Heaven after rebelling against his superiors, Cas must take on a new role in the war for humanity, a role unlike any he could ever have imagined.

Timeline & Spoilers: This fic takes place in early season five. The first few episodes of S5 happen as cannon (as per the TV show) then I jump in and go completely AU. There's an OC in this that is from a previous fic of mine but you don't have to have read that one first, as most of the hunts in that one don't come into this fic. All you really have to know is ... (some spoilers for that story in this sentence) ... that Tasha and Dean had a brief thing a year ago but Cas showed up and revealed that it was written that she would have a role to play if Lucifer was ever freed from his cage and that she needed to go into hiding from demons. She therefore had to leave and the Winchesters haven't seen her for all of season four (which would have happened as per cannon). Her history isn't really a huge part of the storyline in this fic (definitely not OC-centric) and it's not a romance (even though it may start out looking like it's gonna be one, it's not - sorry).

Warnings: There's a bit more swearing in this than the TV show (unless you count Ghostfacers without the bleeps) and there may or may not be a love scene or two (though if there is, it wouldn't be nearly as graphic as my previous stuff ). There is violence and plenty of Hurt!Winchesters and Hurt!Cas and angst for all three (especially Dean, though).

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CHAPTER 1 - The Rabbit Done Died

Adair, Iowa

"I can't believe we just iced Paris Hilton," Dean chuckled, throwing his duffle on the shoddy table as the brothers stepped into the motel room.

"Wasn't really her, Dude," Sam pointed out. He kicked off his shoes and threw himself on the closest bed.

It was late and he was tired. The long ride in the car from Canton, Ohio had been quiet, a product of the lingering tension between the brothers after Sam had made the colossal mistake of unleashing Lucifer on the world. His brother had agreed to work together again once he found out both he and Sam were vessels for Michael and Lucifer respectively, but until this morning when he'd agreed to at least try and treat Sam as an equal, the elder Winchester had still been waving the blame card any chance he got.

"You still gotta admit, it was kinda fun," Dean smirked, not bothering to remove his boots as he followed suit and flopped down on his bed. They were on their way to Marshall, Minnesota to investigate the death of a man who had his chest clawed open but weariness had set in and they had decided to crash for the night and drive the rest of the way in the morning.

"Well, the part where Paris Hilton was kicking your ass was a bit funny," Sam rebutted, glad for a reprieve from Dean's sour attitude towards him and hopeful that this might be a turning point for them, another small step back to what they had been before Ruby. He folded his hands behind his head and closed his eyes, a hint of a smile on his lips.

"At least my hero isn't a four foot tall fruitarian in a diaper," Dean fired back.

"No your hero was…"

"Cas!"

Sam turned his head towards his brother, his forehead creased in confusion. "Your hero is Cas?"

Dean was already sitting up, a look of alarm on his face as he stared at the space behind Sam. As Sam turned his head, expecting to see the angel behind him, he heard a female voice. It was just a breathy gasp but definitely female.

"Tash!" Dean exclaimed, standing up already.

Sam sat up like a lightening bolt, his eyes falling on the two new figures in the room. Cas was standing in his beige trench coat with the usual intense expression on his face. Next to him stood a slim brunette whose hands were held out from her sides, fingers splayed as if she was trying to regain her balance. Her face spread into a huge grin when her eyes fell on Dean.

"That was awesome!" she laughed, her eyes moving from Dean to Sam on the bed then back to Dean. "Beam me up fucking Scotty!"

Dean reached her before Sam was even on his feet. "What's going on?" the elder Winchester demanded urgently, his hand gripping her shoulder in way of greeting as he turned immediately to Cas. "Did something happen? Why'd you bring her here?"

Cas simply narrowed his eyes at Dean. "I had to," he said sternly.

"But I thought she was safer staying apart from us?" Sam questioned, coming around the end of his bed to stand with the other three. Dean bent to give Tasha a quick kiss as he came to stand next to her. "I thought you carved her ribs like you did to ours so neither the angels nor the demons could find her," Sam added.

"I did," Cas answered, still wearing a frown.

Tasha rolled her eyes. "He wouldn't tell me anything," she griped, turning to the brothers. "He just showed up and insisted I had to leave right away then wham! - we're here."

Cas ignored her, addressing Dean directly. "I told you not to have any contact with Natasha," he said, sounding exasperated.

The younger Winchester couldn't help but notice the sheepish looks exchanged between Dean and the brunette but neither said anything.

Sam groaned with realization. He and Dean had split up and gone their separate ways for over three weeks; it made sense that his brother had gone to see Tasha during that time. Dean had always hated being alone and had been so deeply hurt and betrayed by Sam choosing to trust Ruby over him. It wasn't surprising he had needed comfort badly enough that he would seek out the one person who would always choose him.

"So did the demons follow Dean to Tash in Wyoming?" he asked the angel, giving the silent pair his own disapproving glance.

"No," Cas replied simply. "But I heard whispers that her role in all this has come to pass and I see now this is the truth." He turned to Tasha, whose sheepish grin had faded to a look of apprehension. "You were lucky I got to you before Zachariah was able to find you," he told her.

"What does that douchebag want with her?" Dean demanded, his shoulders stiffening. "And while you're at it, what is her supposed role, Cas? You really need to start talking."

"I didn't know what her role was until tonight," Cas defended. "But now she will be sought after by both Zachariah's angels and Lucifer and his demon army. Your hex bags will not be sufficient to hide her."

"What about the carvings on my ribs?" Tasha interjected. "You said they would keep me hidden."

"Yeah," Sam added, his brow furrowed. "You said you zapped her with them right before you zapped us."

Cas let out a deep breath but Sam wasn't sure whether it was a sigh of frustration or of weariness.

"I did mark Natasha. They can't find her," Cas said slowly, giving her a long look before his eyes came to rest on her stomach. "But they can find her child."

Tasha gasped and Dean visibly jumped, both of them widening their eyes and staring wildly at Cas. Tasha shook her head as her hand moved immediately to her belly.

"Woah, woah," Dean stammered, splaying his hand out in front of him towards the angel. "You're not saying what I think you're saying … are you?"

"I'm saying she is with child," Cas said simply. "And I assume the child is yours."

"But … but she can't be," Dean insisted. "We didn't …you know ... we didn't …" He looked at Tash. "Oh shit," he breathed. "On the stairs…"

Tasha shook her head. "It doesn't matter," she said, turning to Cas. "I can't be pregnant," she informed him. "I can't have kids. I got hurt pretty bad by a Dharga when I was nineteen and the doctors all agreed that my uterus was way beyond repair. So no way I'm pregnant."

Cas didn't get the chance to answer before Dean figured it out. "Cas healed you after Diego," he explained with a groan. "He healed everything." He blew out a deep breath and wiped his hand down across his face. "I need a drink," he said, heading towards his duffle.

"So do I ... but I'm guessing that's not an option for me anymore," Tasha breathed, her hand still on her belly and her eyes still wide.

Sam had remained silent so far. He was surprised, shocked even, but something inside him had ignited the instant Cas had said the words 'And the child is yours.' Dean was gonna be a dad. He was gonna be an uncle. Bobby was pretty much gonna be a granfather. Ruby, Lucifer, Lilith, Zachariah … fuck all of them. They didn't matter. This was … this was … this was just plain awesome!

He couldn't wipe the goofy grin off his face despite the fact that neither Dean nor Tasha seemed overly thrilled with the shocking news. He was so sure this was what Dean had always wanted; his brother just hadn't figured that out yet. And if he could have chosen any girl to be welcomed permanently into the Winchester fold, Sam would have chosen Tasha.

Tasha narrowed her eyes at Cas. "How can you tell after only a week?" she demanded. "And what does this mean? Is that my role? Am I just a freakin' womb to the kid of the 'big vessel' over there?" She jerked her thumb at Dean over at the table. "And what do Zack and Lucifer and demons want with the thing?"

Tasha's fearless and almost bossy attitude towards the angel didn't surprise Sam but he had to chuckle at her calling her own baby a 'thing'. He turned to Cas expectantly, wanting the answers to her questions as badly as the parents-to-be. Meanwhile Dean had found his whiskey flask and was in the process of taking a long, long, long drink.

Cas looked at them all in turn before finally offering the explanation. He answered her questions in order. "I can tell because I am an angel and when I touched you and searched for it, I sensed a flicker of essence other than yours," he said matter-of-factly. "And yes, this is your role. This is an important fate to fall upon you." He looked over at Dean, who was leaning on the table rubbing a hand through his short spikes. "You and Dean and your child," he clarified before giving them both an accusing look. "It's existence is a risk that might have been avoided had you done as I asked and stayed away from each other."

"Or out of each other," Sam mumbled with a smirk, earning himself a sharp glare from both of his fellow humans.

"Just spit it out Cas," Dean blurted as he finally moved back towards Tasha's side. "What makes the kid so importanr?"

Cas fixed his blue eyes on Dean. "Your child will help to decide the outcome of the battle between Michael and Lucifer," he said solemnly.

"What?" Tasha gasped.

"But there isn't going to be a battle," Sam pointed out. "Because neither of us are going to say yes."

"Yeah, I thought we were gonna ice the Devil instead," Dean reminded the angel. "You agreed that was the plan."

"I said I would help you find the Colt but killing Lucifer was your plan," Cas corrected. "I am still hopeful I can find God and put an end to all of this."

"Yeah, well how's that going for you?" Dean snapped, knowing he was being short with his friend because he was overwhelmed by the latest weight that had been thrust on his shoulders and not for any real anger with Cas.

Cas didn't seem fazed by the hunter's abruptness. "I have found nothing so far but I believe I will soon."

Dean didn't care about Cas's pointless search for God. If God was still around then, simply put, God was being a jack-ass. What kind of father let his kids run wild - killing and smiting and being complete douches – and didn't step in to issue a few spankings? Fucking Lucifer and that prick Zachariah should be the first to be bent over Daddy's knee.

Of course, he wasn't blame-free in all of this. Now, thanks to a moment of weakness on his part, Tasha was in serious, epic-scale danger. He was so used to him and Sam being knee-deep in apocalyptic shit it didn't even faze him anymore but now he'd gone and dragged Tasha into it again. Tasha and … their child. Fuck, this soooo was not the time for this!

"What about Tash?" he asked Cas. "I might be able to gank a few demons if they sniff her out but I can't keep her safe from angels if they find us. Can't you block the baby from angel-radar like you did for us?"

Cas shook his head. "The baby doesn't have enough form yet," he explained. "It will not be distinct enough for me to mark for a number of weeks; months even."

"But the angels can still sense it?" Tasha asked quietly.

"Yes. Right now only if they touch you but soon they will be able to detect it from a distance."

"How about Bobby's panic room?" Dean suggested. Cas shook his head again.

"Exactly what do they want with the baby?" Sam asked, realizing Cas hadn't given them a decent answer yet.

"I just became aware of this information myself," said Cas. "It was written that a child shall be born to one of the true vessels and the last of a valiant bloodline. It seems very likely Natasha is the person fate describes as she was indeed the last of such a bloodline, the rest having been vanquished by the vampire Dago. We already know both you and Dean are the true vessels. If born before Michael and Lucifer face each other, the child will have great influence in the outcome of the battle between them. It is believed that it will aid the side for which its mother or father is a vessel."

The three hunters stood silent for a long moment, absorbing Cas's words.

"So you're saying the kid will help Michael win?" Dean summarized finally.

Cas nodded. "Since the child is yours and you are Michael's vessel."

"Does it mean he wins without taking out half the planet?" Dean ventured hopefully.

"No," the angel answered. "I have heard nothing about the battle being less destructive, only infuenced in outcome."

"But how does it influence the outcome?" Sam pressed. "And if we don't say yes, then the baby's not important and they should all leave it alone, right?"

"I don't know how," Cas admitted. "Also, I don't believe the angels and Lucifer know that the child is Dean's. It is written that the last human of the valiant bloodline would have a strong bond with either of the true vessels, so they likely don't know which of you is the father of the child. Both will be hoping their respective vessel is the father."

Another silence fell across the room, this one slightly awkward.

"Okay, I'm not gonna touch that one," Dean said finally, breaking the slight tension with a grin. They had all moved past the fact that Tasha and Sam had spent a night together while Dean had been in Hell and he saw no reason to delve back into that whole scene. As usual, his solution was levity.

"Well the baby's definitely Dean's," Tasha huffed, giving Cas an indignant look.

"I was not doubting that," Cas said hesitantly, giving the girl a puzzled look and clearly not sure what he had said to offend her. "I was just pointing out that until Michael and Lucifer know for certain which of them is the father, both sides will merely be looking to capture the child and not kill it."

"So they don't want me dead," Tasha extrapolated.

"Not until you give birth," Cas confirmed. "Then you will only get in the way and they will likely kill you immediately afterwards."

"Nice, Cas," Dean rolled his eyes. "Ever hear of tact?"

The angel returned the frown. "I do not have time for tact, Dean," he said gravely. "I need to take Natasha somewhere neither the angels or demons can find her."

"Oh come on!" Tasha griped with an exasperated sigh. "I just spent a whole year hiding out in Borings-ville." She narrowed her eyes at Cas. "Where are we supposed to go?"

"Not really where," Cas clarified. "More like when."

"Come again?" Dean raised an eyebrow.

"I cannot hide her anywhere here and I alone can't protect her from archangels and the highest ranking demons that will stop at nothing to capture her," Cas explained with a hint of impatience.

Both Dean and Sam decided to ignore the fact that he had completely discounted them in Tasha's protection detail. After all, they were both human and admittedly somewhat ineffective against angels and high-ranking demons in open confrontation, especially since Sam had stopped tweaking on demon blood.

"For a long time before recent years, it was forbidden for angels to walk the Earth among the humans. Since I cannot shield the child, I can only think to hide both it and Natasha in a time no one will be looking for them."

"In the past?" Sam couldn't help but be impressed with Cas's ingenuity. That was a good idea. It just might actually work.

"What year?" Tasha asked, eyes wide. "And when do we have to go?"

"At least three decades ago and we must leave right now." Intense blue eyes held her gaze with an expression that left no room for argument.

"Now?" She threw a panicked look at Dean before turning back to Cas. "For how long?"

Cas shrugged. "Until they find you," he said simply. "At least until the child is born."

"You're an angel," Tasha pointed out. "Can't you speed things up and just ... poof it out?"

Cas gave her an incredulous look and was about to answer the obvious 'no' when the elder Winchester cut him off.

"You're going with her though, right?" Dean said sharply. "You're gonna stay with her and look out for her?"

"Hey, I'm just pregnant, not an invalid!" Tasha interjected, clearly taking offense to Dean's insistence on a chaperone. "It's not like I haven't taken out a demon before!"

"Yes," Cas answered, ignoring Tasha's outburst. "I told you I was getting nowhere in my search for God. I believe I'll have more luck looking for him before the apocalypse was set in motion. There will be no angels around so I will be able to move more freely without having them all trying to kill me."

Dean nodded his acceptance of the plan and looked at Tasha, putting his arms around her and leaning down to give her a quick hug and a lingering kiss on the mouth. He could see she was freaking out inside but he felt her body calm slightly as she returned the kiss. When he pulled his lips away he kept his hands on her waist, their foreheads touching.

"Okay, this is really fucked up but if it's the only way to keep you safe you gotta do it," he said quietly.

She let out a long, slow breath before nodding. "I know," she agreed. "It just seems we never get more than a few minutes together before Blue-Eyes here is sending me away somewhere." She tilted her head towards Cas.

Dean grinned. "Look, you're gonna be spending a lot of time with him so you may want to try being nice," he told her. "Besides, Cas isn't that bad once you get used to the stick up his ass." He turned and threw a teasing smirk at the man in the trench coat.

Tasha laughed. "Hey, I know owe him big time," she admitted. "I haven't forgotten he saved my life last year. It's just that he has this annoying habit of dragging me away from you."

"Just do what he says and come back in one piece," Dean said softly. "You and ..." He dropped the sentence and let his hand slide around to rest on her flat stomach. "I can't believe this is happening," he murmured.

"You and me both," Tasha whispered back to him, pressing her hand over his.

Cas cleared his throat and Dean let his hands drop with a sigh, pressing his lips to Tasha's one last time before stepping back.

"Be careful," Cas said to Dean, who noticed the angel seemed a bit awkward making the worrisome remark. "I will return with Natasha as soon as it is safe to do so but it may be a while. Please don't do anything reckless without ... " He paused.

"Without you here to save my ass?" Dean finished the angel's sentence with an indignant snort. "Thanks for the concern Cas, but I got this. You're needed elsewhere and that's fine by me." He tilted his head towards at Tasha, who was giving the taller Winchester a hug good-bye. "You do your job and I'll hold down the fort here in the twenty-first century, 'kay?"

Cas nodded and reached out to touch Tasha's shoulder.

"Okay I just have one more question," Sam frowned, feigning a look of confusion for a moment as he stepped away from the brunette. A huge smile spread over his face as the three others looked at him expectantly. "On the stairs?" he grinned teasingly back and forth between the two parents-to-be. "Seriously guys? How does that even work?"

"Shut up," Dean and Tasha said in unison before the girl and Cas were gone, leaving Dean to finish the 'up' by himself.

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A/N: So this is where season 5 turns AU. How'd you like it so far? I promise it gets more exciting very soon. Those of you who read Two Guys and a Girl probably guessed this much of the plot but I have a few surprises and twists coming up really soon that I don't think you will be expecting. I will also have a flashback to the night Dean stopped by to see Tasha when he and Sam were separated - couldn't skip such a fateful night now, could I? ;D

BTW, the title of this story is from a line in Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion that refers to a positive pregnancy test (for those of you who may have been wondering). You can Wikipedia 'Rabbit Died' for an explanation of the term.

Again, you don't have to have read my previous fic (Two Guys, a Girl, and a Ticket to Hell) since this story doesn't get into what happened in that one (though it would be great if you did!). As always I'd love to hear from you so please leave me a review and tell me what you thought. Interested so far?

Disclaimer: Do I really need this? I'm guessing you all know I don't own any part of Jensen ... I mean Supernatural. If I did, I wouldn't be here; I would be in Vancouver in a trailer that has a giant fish tank and a remote controlled helicopter in it! ;-D